EDS & Academy

Joe Hodge named Scholar of the Year

Joe Hodge (left) celebrates Manchester City's 2019/20 U18 Premier League Cup win.
Joe Hodge was named Manchester City’s Scholar of the Year at the 2019/20 Premier League Academy awards.

The 17-year-old midfielder was selected by Club staff for his performance both on and off the pitch and was recognised at a virtual awards ceremony. 

Former Elite Development Squad goalkeeper Billy O’Brien was also amongst the winners, as he picked up the Premier League's Alumni award.

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Hodge, a boyhood City fan who has been with the Club since U9s, endured a testing first year as a full-time footballer.

He broke both his leg and his ankle in August but returned ahead of schedule to help the U18s lift a second successive Premier League Cup in February.

This, alongside his efforts towards his education, earned the Republic of Ireland youth international the prestigious prize.

“I’m very happy to win the award,” said Hodge.

“It’s a good achievement to win Scholar of the Year, especially considering I didn’t play many games.

"It is nice to know that what I did last season, I did well, even though I couldn’t play with the team.

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“I thought my season was done, but I ended up playing 14 games, which isn’t bad considering I broke my leg.

“I played in the quarter-final, semi-final and final of the Premier League Cup and got one game in the FA Youth Cup, so I did a lot better than I thought I would.

“I’ve loved it, it’s been a really good first year [as a scholar].”

Hodge’s exemplary attitude on his return from injury was praised by then manager Gareth Taylor last season and Academy Director Jason Wilcox echoed this sentiment.

“Joe thoroughly deserves this award,” he said.

“He is someone who maintains the highest of standards and his attitude and application has been fantastic both on and off the pitch.

“He is a great example to other young footballers.”

City’s second of the award of the evening went to O’Brien, who left the Club in the summer of 2017 after spending 11 years in the Academy.

The former goalkeeper progressed through the age groups and was included in a first team travelling squad by Pep Guardiola for a Champions League game against Celtic in 2016.

A lifelong City fan, O’Brien joined Macclesfield Town after his departure, before retiring in 2018 and expressed his delight at winning the Alumni award.

"It is very special for me to be given this award. To be associated with the Club is very special and an absolute honour.

"For many different reasons, football doesn’t work out for everyone who is in the game at a young age.

"I am really enjoying my career now and to be recognised for it is an honour."

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